At Thanksgiving, when we each expressed what we were thankful for, I said I was thankful for the ancestors who left us stories and recipes and dishes and silver to remember them by.
“What about the aprons,” said my oldest son.
“Huh?” I said.
“You’re thankful for the Ancestors–what about the Aprons?”
Ah, yes…the aprons. The drawer full of aprons is part of what got Ancestors in Aprons started earlier this year. So here are a few aprons that bring memories flooding back every time I open the drawer.
My grand daughter wears Grandma Vera’s flour sack apron when we make Christmas cookies. That apron not only reminds me of Grandma Vera, but also of that wonderful, soft, colorfully printed material that flour used to come in. We used flour sacks to make aprons, but also to make skirts and summer tops and hot pads and on and on. It was a favorite material to learn to sew on. And it got softer and softer as it aged.
Grandma’s flour sack apron is pretty soft, but it is also wearing out around the neck band.
My mother taught high school classes in home economics. Aprons were a favorite project–easy to cut and sew, and I seem to recall her telling me that this apron was one that a student left behind. The hook and eye at the neck don’t work, and while the pinafore style offers lots of protection, mother had safety pins stuck in the shoulders, where she would pin it to her dress, since the student didn’t quite finish her project. There is no waist-tie.
As I said, aprons are an easy sewing project. And when I was a young mother I frequently made Christmas presents. One year I made aprons for everyone in the family. The two grandmothers–Harriette Kaser and Agnes Badertscher got this apron–“Grandma’s Helping Hands” with the hand prints of my two young sons (before the third came along).
I really had to laugh when I came across the pictures of my father and my Uncle Bill Anderson carving turkeys. What sports, to wear those frilly aprons.
Lucky for them, in the 1960s when backyard barbeques became essential equipment for every home, and men reverted to their caveman roots, Man Aprons became the rule of the day. Here are two that my Father got as Christmas presents.
Before there were cute cat videos, there was the awesomely popular Garfield–the original Grumpy Cat. And even before that there was B. Kliban drawing CATS.
And my boys (three now, with hands much bigger than those on the grandma aprons, gave me a MomCat apron for Christmas. Years later, I learned that my sister Paula’s boys had given her the same apron.
I want to mention one more apron that means a lot to me, although when somebody inherits it, they won’t recognize the reason I was so attached. It has the logo of Roll Call printed at the top. Roll Call is the “neighborhood newspaper” for Congress and all the staff of the Members of Congress. When I was working for a congressman, I entered a cooking contest that Roll Call held, and was invited to the cookoff in Washington on Capitol Hill.
You can find the recipe here, because I baked Killer Corn Bread. Each contestant was given an apron, and that’s the one in my drawer. But I did not actually wear it during the cookoff. That’s because a Senator who was one of the judges wanted an apron and they had run out. A manager of the cookoff asked me if they could borrow mine. I said only if the Senator signed the apron and returned it to me. He agreed.
The signature of Patrick Moynihan scrawled boldly across the front of the apron is almost illegible now, because, foolishly, I wore the apron to cook in, and I washed it. Unfortunately, the pen he used was not waterproof. I can still see a few strokes, and I can still remember how delighted I was to meet the famous Senator.
If you have forgotten who Senator Moynihan was and what he did for the United States–I suggest you look him up. I was not of his political party, and yet I believe he was one of the most intelligent and creative legislators we ever had in this country.
And that’s my thanks to the aprons.